Small traders, shopkeepers, and SME (small and medium enterprise) contribute significantly to innovations, employment generation and growth of the economy. They also directly and indirectly contribute to development of rural India. Besides contributing 45 per cent of the total manufacturing output and 40 per cent of the exports of the country, the SMEs adds about 8 per cent to the total GDP. Literally, the SMEs are the backbone of our developing nation. There are more than 42 million people engaged in trade, and small trade. India also has more than 70 million shopkeepers who control close to 90 per cent of the retail trade in India
Running a small business can be very challenging and lonely.
Challenging, because no two small businesses are the same. Every entrepreneur has to deal with a unique set of circumstances. And the Indian economic system is not geared to help. Lonely, because often, they are an organisation of one.
So how have they been impacted by the lockdown? When the shutters were downed, they were hit hard. How have they coped with it? Watch our last short video on traders, shopkeepers, and SMEs which attempts to bring alive the key insight of this cohort.
This is the sixth in our series of Project As Is – our attempt to understand the hearts and minds of India’s majorities… through the lockdown. This project had started on India’s first day of the lockdowns with a simple question. When people are unnaturally forced to stay at home over a long period of time, what would they feel about various aspects of life, and importantly, how would those feelings change over the entirety of the lockdown?
The findings are in two parts. The accompanying short video dramatises the key insight of the shopkeepers/traders/SMEs cohort. And a detailed report on this cohort can be made available upon request.